IT'S A G I R L! She's a little spacey and a little weird looking, but daddy wanted his new album to reflect how unbalanced our society is. After tightening the tap on his talent to a slow drip, Pharrell has finally unleashed the flood for us. Since 2006, he has had countless chart topping collaborations and produced platinum selling albums, but we've since never seen any sign of another solo album. That was until December, when it was announced that he had finally been convinced to release his second solo LP with Columbia Records. After having a career-year in 2013 as a featured artist on two of the year's most popular singles ("Blurred Lines" and "Get Lucky"), the 40-year-old hip-hop genius has finally taken matters into his own hands.
G I R L is Pharrell's favorite darling child, and he's poured every ounce of his eccentric musical DNA into her. Seeing how admirably he has discussed his connection to this album, one wouldn't be surprised to find a tiny tuft of Pharrell's hair with every copy tucked in discreetly under the sleeve; it's a part of him. In an interview at the BRIT Awards he spoke with Zane Lowe saying, "I admire women in a lot of ways, but I needed to make sure that everyone knew that I do look, and I do like them, and I appreciate them in my little dirty ways...but the core is a deeper appreciation—every human being has come through those silver lined doors." Truly, I'm elated to discover that my lady parts are lined with silver; this means whole new things for my bank account. Pharrell's thank you to womankind seems like a genuine move of chivalry. The cynic might say that G I R L is meant to be a redemption album for all the inappropriate ways he's spoken about women in the past, but if Pharrell feels the need to make up for his comparatively tame lines, then what in burning hell are Tyler the Creator and Khia gonna do?
In G I R L, we bare witness to Pharrell's true sentiments about genre, because this isn't hip-hop anymore, this is pure 80s funk mastered and primed into the 21st Century. He has has pulled a time machine move similar to that of his pals Daft Punk in Random Access Memories, on which he sings two songs. In this album, they pulled the flailing fidelity of electronic music back to the 80s, and now Pharrell is adding his weight to the cause.
Pharrell's labor of love has very similar traits to its 2013 cousin album. Not only is it a throwback to funk, but it's also one that's somewhat disappointing. As a weathered professional producer, Pharrell's tracks are, like his ageless appearance, as flawless as ever. Like taking a bite out of a handsome Fiji apple, the surface is crisp, smooth, and as bright as a tropical sun, but once you taste it, it's not quite as sweet as you'd expected. "Gust of Wind", which features Daft Punk, is as delectable as one would hope, but the three other star-studded tracks are not so impressive. "Come Get it Bae" is like a less interesting version of "Blurred Lines" with a skippy guitar beat and everyone's favorite ratchet girl Miley Cyrus whose voice is poorly matched for Pharrell's soulful style. But Alicia Keys makes a more appropriate guest on the album three tracks later in "Know Who You Are".
Listen to "Gust of Wind":
Despite these disappointing aspects, there are a few redeemable qualities on G I R L. There's beauty in a simple ten track album, and Pharrell pours his abilities into a smooth river of crystal cut soundbites. Gushing from a Broadway musical style orchestral introduction with Marilyn Monroe, the album streaks through the four artist-featured tracks, the single "Happy", and and four additional tunes. The closing song, "It Girl", however, is the only one of which that seems to have any real pop potential.
After careful judgement, I personally will agree to accept G I R L as a formal olive branch to women. Although other girls might be a bit more apprehensive due to the continued usage of heavy sexual innuendo in many of the songs, I'm willing to forgive in favor of flattery.
G I R L is out now on Columbia Records.